Not to speak would have been a dereliction of duty, Prashant Bhushan tells SC
The Supreme Court gave civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan “two or three days” to “think it over” and possibly amend a statement he read to judges on Thursday in which he declined to apologize for his tweets. When the Attorney General urged the court not to punish him, Judge Arun Mishra replied that “Mr. Bhushan could have done a lot of good, but he shouldn’t cross the Lakshman Rekha … We can be very, very forgiving, but only if the person apologizes in the true sense of the word. “
- Found in contempt for two tweets, Bhushan today read aloud a statement saying that he had served for three decades not as a courtier or an artist, but as a humble guardian of his Majesty.
“It hurts not because I am being punished, but because I have been very misunderstood.” Refusing to apologize for his tweets, he said it would be derogatory and insincere of him to apologize.In a voice full of emotion, he said
- After a two-hour hearing, which witnessed a lot of back-and-forth over whether his tweets had crossed the finish line, the Supreme Court gave the 63-year-old lawyer two to three days to “Reconsider” his statement.
If PM-CARES is not under RTI, how was it authorized for CSR donations, asks Chidambaram
- Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday accused the BJP of “desperately” trying to shield the PM-CARES fund from scrutiny while asking a series of questions about the fund’s creation.
- The Congress leader’s questions on Twitter follow a report published today in The Hindu. The report noted that although the government claimed that the PM CARES Fund was not a public authority within the meaning of the Right to Information Act (RTI), the Ministry of Enterprise Affairs (MCA) had justified in March to authorize donations to PM-CARES under social responsibility Enterprise (CSR) on the basis that it had been created by the central government.
- Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that PM-CARES does not require any audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) since it is only a public charity for voluntary donations and does not receive any support from the government.
Kerala Government Convenes Multi-stakeholder Meeting to Discuss Award of Airport Contract to Adani Group
- The Kerala government called an urgent all-party meeting on Thursday evening to discuss the Union cabinet’s decision to hand over Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) of the Adani group.
- Grupo Adani won the tender to manage and operate the airport as part of a public-private partnership (PPP) for 50 years.
- The decision of the Center to assign the rights of Trivandrum airport to Adani comes at a time when the privatization of the airport is in dispute following a directive from the Supreme Court.
“Thiruvananthapuram airport has been privatized in Adani, rejecting the Kerala government’s request even after offering to match Adani’s fare. The PMO’s promise to accept Kerala’s proposal is broken. The people of Kerala will not accept this blatant act of cronyism. # Privatization of the airport,”tweeted State Finance Minister Dr. Thomas Isaac.
- However, the Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said that the award of the contract was done in a transparent manner and the best offer was won. “The winning bid was trading at Rs.168 per passenger, KSIDC was trading at Rs.135 per passenger and the third eligible bidder was ₹ 63 per passenger. Therefore, despite a special RoFR provision [right of first refusal] granted to the GOK, they were unable to qualify in the international bidding process conducted in a transparent manner, ”he tweeted.
- Adani Enterprises won the contract for the six airports open for privatization earlier this year: Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram.
- Opposing the move towards privatization, Kerala demanded that the management of the airport be entrusted to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in which the state government would be the main actor.
- On Wednesday, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “In view of the unilateral decision taken by the Union government without giving any credence to the convincing arguments put forward by the State government, it will be difficult for us to offer our cooperation in the implementation of the decision, which goes against the will of the state people.
- The number of reported coronavirus cases in India was 29,00,892 at the time of this news summary, with a death toll of 54,966. India reported 69,652 new cases on Tuesday.
- Almost a third of Delhi’s population has been exposed to Covid-19 and developed antibodies, the state government said today, giving details of a second serosurvey conducted in the capital.
- “The second serological survey found a prevalence of the virus of 29.1%,” said Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain. In other words, 58 lakh people in Delhi now have antibodies.
- Meanwhile, the Punjab government, as part of a strict response to a worrying increase in coronavirus cases, has ordered a nightly curfew every day from 7:00 p.m. at 5:00 a.m. as of Friday, and a lockdown weekends in 167 towns and cities across the state.
- The emergency measures, which will be in effect until August 31, include restrictions on public and private transportation and a ban on all public gatherings (except weddings and funerals).
- Union Minister Jal Shakti Gajendar Singh Shekhawat said Thursday that he tested positive for the coronavirus. He is the sixth Union minister to contract the infection.
Kamala Harris formally accepts the appointment of Vice President
- Kamala Harris, the first black woman and person of Indian descent to be named to a major political party in American history, accepted the (undisputed) nomination as a running mate of the Democratic Party.
- For the fourth year in a row, Indore has been ranked the cleanest city in the country by the Swachh Survekshan 2020 report, released on Thursday.